Ronnie05's Blog

HTML5 – Future complete! (Part III) Native Apps versus HTML5

Posted in Computing and Operating Systems by Manas Ganguly on December 20, 2012

This is third of a series of blog posts on HTML5. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

In part II of this series, we have seen how network effects (distribution),economics and Developer skills load the discussion in favour of HTML5 over Native Apps. However a few critical features of Native Apps need to be taken in consideration

Experience and Customized Apps (Advantage Native Apps)
The one big drawback of Web apps is that they can’t take advantage of a device’s hardware specifications- Web based HTML5 will essentially lose some benefits of the customized device firmware to gain a wider traction across all devices. The Native Apps in the mean time will enjoy breadth of device capability, and full access to the underlying mobile platform within its eco-system device but will be short in width of devices being covered. Functionality is the key – Apps that donot use a lot of the hardware features and are more on the broadcast mode are more likely to benefit from HTML5 – as against App which serves the experience and inter-activeness up. A tighter integration of the Native apps with the device and its features is more handy in delivering better web based experience. A case in point would be the integration of voice assistant feature such as Siri in the Apple eco-system. With Javascript engines getting faster, mobile web apps perform better but still lag behind the native app performance.

Many business applications do not necessarily require the levels of performance that Native Apps can provide. In these cases, Web and Hybrid apps are more cost effective, efficient and dynamic due to API adaptability.

However, HTML5 would democratize web experiences, device makers will seek tricks to make an application more engaging and attractive on their platforms. They would like Applications which would do justice to the high end configurations of their devices. Native Apps does just that effectively.

Competition leveling (Advantage HTML5)
A move toward HTML5 would be good news for BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, webOS licensor Hewlett-Packard, Intel (Tizen) and Microsoft, which are all lagging well behind Apple and Google in the number of applications available in their app stores.

Monetization (Advantage Native Apps)
Native apps come with one-click purchase options built into mobile platforms. HTML5 apps will tend to be monetized more through advertising, because payments will be less user-friendly.

The Figure below captures the difference between HTML5 and Applications based approaches on other auxilliary factors-
Apps vs HTML5

So then, HTML5 would be like the state highway for all and sundry – delivering a base level internet experience on all knids of devices. However there would be many and more who would like to be pampered with better and higher degree of device experience. There’s a lot to watch out for – especially Apple. Google meanwhile seems to be able to find the balance between the HTML5 web and the App-web. Contrary to popular beliefs, the discussion between HTML5 and Native App doesn’t need to essentially produce a winner or a looser – it may yet produce a third result altogether – Hybrid apps. And many are betting on it.

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